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Thursday, 28 June 2012

Lonesome George

Rest in Peace Lonesome George - the last of the Pinta Island giant tortoises, who died this week aged around 100.  This is my tribute, drawn in carbon pencil.  There is apparently a small chance that there may be one more Pinta Island tortoise still living - I found the story confusing but hopeful; we shall have to wait and see.  Species do die out, but it's a shame poor old George couldn't have been persuaded to perpetuate his genes - perhaps he was even older than they thought he was, and just couldn't face the effort....
Well, I'm sure that resonates with many of us .......

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Nearly time for a Change

Most of my recent paintings have been watercolours; it's a medium I find fascinating, not least because it's the one in which I'm least proficient - so there's always the pleasure of discovery.  I've shown most of the recent ones on the Painters Online gallery,, but here's one I haven't put on POL (yet, at least).  I'm not great at painting yachts - as you'll have noticed - but that's what these are supposed to be, from last year's Round the Island race off the coast at Niton Undercliff.

I feel it's time for a change of medium - so I'll be getting back into acrylic and oil shortly; there should be one more watercolour to come for the moment, always assuming that the one I'm currently working on doesn't go horribly wrong (always a strong likelihood with watercolour).  In the meantime - this one, like all of my paintings, is for sale - around £60 for this one; email me at robertjones@ratville,; you can pay by Paypal on my website ( which is LONG overdue for an overhaul.  I'm supposed to be running it myself these days, but would really like someone to hold my hand while I do it....

Well, they never taught us about computers when I was at school...........

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Using Black paint

Long time since the last post - it requires a certain amount of self-discipline to keep blog posts going, especially when so few comment on them.  Yes, that's a hint.

Anyway - there's an interesting discussion on the Painters Online forum pages, ( started by Alan Owen, a watercolourist friend of all of us.  Alan points out that using black - especially, though not exclusively, in watercolour - has been discouraged and generally frowned upon.  There are good reasons for this - using black as a routine means of suggesting shadows, for instance, can quickly turn a picture into mud.  Black can be mixed - eg from Winsor/Pthalo green and Permanent Rose, or from Ultramarine Blue and Burnt Sienna or Burnt Umber, and in any number of other ways: black is basically the result of a mix between red, yellow and blue; you've got the yellow in Pthalo Green, red and yellow in Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber.  Blacks mixed this way will have far more life, and run much less risk of muddying your colours.

However, adding a small amount of black to other colours can produce very interesting results - take a look at the POL forum for some examples of Alan's colour mixes, especially the results he gets with a little Old Holland Intense Black mixed into Cobalt Blue.

The painting below (I hope it appears below anyway: I've been caught out with files appearing in the wrong place before!) contains a very small amount of black in the blue of the sky; this one was painted with Chromacolour (, a form of acrylic.  Without the little bit of black, I couldn't have achieved the colour I wanted from those available to me at the time.    So black has its place on the painter's palette - you don't HAVE to use it: but it's not the crime it's sometimes held to be.